THE men and women who don the uniform of police specials and volunteer to patrol the streets and help keep order at events in Wiltshire have been described as extra special by Chief Constable Patrick Geenty.

About 40 members of the Wilt-shire Special Constabulary attended an awards ceremony at St John’s School in Marlborough on Saturday.

Awards were presented by Mr Geenty in the presence of the deputy Lord Lieutenant Richard Handover, the Under Sheriff of Wiltshire, Lady Sarah Gooch, and the chairman of Swindon Magistrates, Martyn Cook.

The awards were for all levels of service, from the 10 most recently appointed officers who received certificates of independent patrol, to the three officers who have between them put in more than 100 years voluntary service, the Special Constabulary chief officer Richard Palusinski (40 years), special PC Richard Warren from Malmesbury (45 years) and special PC Mike Tupman from Marlborough (27 years).

Acting Special Sergeant Nigel Todd, also from Malmesbury, received a bar to his 19 year service award.

There were some rather unusual awards given this year in recognition of the specials taking on extra work to relieve regular officers for Olympic and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee duties.

Chief officer Palusinski said: “This has been such a challenging year and we always knew it was going to be difficult with both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the London Olympics.

“Wiltshire police lost 90 officers to the Olympics venues at Weymouth and London and the employers of specials were asked to give them further paid holidays so that they could give even more help.”

For the first time Wiltshire police gave Jubilee Awards to its specials including inspector Guy Sanders of Pewsey, acting sergeant Lee Hitt of Swindon, special constables Matthew Saunders of Swindon, David Lee of Bradford-on-Avon and Mark Littledale, of Trowbridge.

Long service awards for nine or more years went to special constables Lee Robles, of Warminster, and Sophie Chamberlain, of Chippenham.

In his closing speech following the presentations Mr Geenty said it was still the aim of the Wiltshire force to increase the number of specials from its current 235 to 300, which was the optimum level suggested by his predecessor Brian Moore.